Hurley III, Rahm, Singh and Varner III qualify for The Open at Quicken Loans National
Billy Hurley III, Jon Rahm, Vijay Singh and Harold Varner III have qualified for The 145th Open at Royal Troon after today’s final round of the Quicken Loans National at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland.
The Quicken Loans National was the seventh event in The Open Qualifying Series, which gives players the opportunity to qualify for golf’s most international major championship at leading Tour events around the world.
The four players will now compete against the world’s best golfers to become Champion Golfer of the Year when The Open returns to the famous Ayrshire links for the ninth time from 14-17 July, 2016.
Meanwhile, six players also qualified for The Open through the European Tour Race to Dubai and the PGA TOUR FedExCup rankings. In the Race to Dubai, England’s Andrew Johnston, Sweden’s Rikard Karlberg, South Korea’s Soomin Lee, and Joost Luiten from the Netherlands all earned a place at Royal Troon, while Americans William McGirt and Smylie Kaufman booked their place through the FedExCup.
At the Quicken Loans National, American Billy Hurley III earned his first PGA TOUR title and a place in The 145th Open after a tremendous performance in front of a raucous hometown crowd. The former US Naval officer thrilled spectators by chipping in at the 15th and following that up with a 27-foot birdie putt on the 16th green to close out the tournament with a two-under-par 69.
The 34-year-old finished on 17-under-par and will now challenge for the Claret Jug for the second time after making his Open debut in 2014 at Royal Liverpool where he finished tied 64th.
“This will be my second Open, and I remember being there for the first time and standing on the putting green thinking, I didn’t really think I’d get to play in one of these in my career and now I’m playing in a second one. It will be great,” said Hurley.
Vijay Singh, who made his first appearance in The Open at Royal Troon in 1989, will play in his 25th Championship and 89th major after finishing runner-up behind Hurley. The 53-year-old Fijian’s best finish was tied for 2nd place with Thomas Bjorn in 2003 at Royal St George’s. At Congressional, Singh closed out his round of 65 with a birdie at the 18th to finish on 14-under-par for the tournament.
“It’s really nice to be going back to Troon again. That was my first Open, back in 1989. It’s nice to be back, I love playing in The Open. The conditions are incredible and it’s just nice to be back there,” said Singh after completing his round.
Former no. 1 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking™ Jon Rahm booked his spot at The Open after tying for third place alongside Bill Haas, who has already qualified for the Championship. The 21-year-old Spaniard, who was making his professional debut this week after finishing as low amateur at last week’s US Open, posted a final round 70 to finish on 13-under-par.
Rahm said, “I really wanted to play at Royal Troon and I knew I had the exemption as an amateur but I gave it up to get my PGA TOUR career started. I’m just so happy I played well today and I got my spot at Troon.”
American Harold Varner III also qualified for The Open after nudging out former Ryder Cup player Francesco Molinari, who was in position to scoop the fourth qualifying spot after finishing 8-under-par. But a final day score of 70 saw him finish in 7th place at 9-under-par behind Ernie Els and Webb Simpson who were both already exempt for the Championship. He will now make his Open debut at Royal Troon.
Varner admitted it was only when his caddie told him he had won the last qualifying place that he realised he was going to Royal Troon, saying “I didn’t even realise what was happening until I was done and my caddie said that he thought I had the last place. So it’s been a really cool experience. I’m really looking forward to getting over there.
“I’m going to have to focus on getting the ball lower and using my imagination. But it’s still golf; you’ve just got to keep playing your game. I’m super pumped.”
Round 3 Recap
Hurley III, Rahm, Varner III and Singh in position to qualify for The Open
With 18 holes left to play at the Quicken Loans National, Billy Hurley III, Jon Rahm, Harold Varner III and Vijay Singh are in position to qualify for The 145th Open.
Four players, that finish in the top 12 and ties who are not already exempt, will secure a place in The Open from 14-17 July.
Hometown favourite Hurley delivered another strong performance on Saturday, carding a four-under-par 67 to move to 15-under-par for the tournament. The 34-year-old former Naval officer managed to make his way around Congressional Country Club without dropping a shot in his third round, putting himself in position to earn his maiden PGA TOUR title and a second start at The Open.
Two-time Champion Golfer of the Year Ernie Els sits two shots back in second place after the 46-year-old managed a bogey-free 65 on the same course where he won the 1997 US Open. Els, who is already exempt for The Open, delivered the shot of the day when he holed out for eagle on the par-4 12th hole after hitting a 9-iron from the fairway from 157 yards. The South African is looking for his first victory since he lifted the Claret Jug at Royal Lytham & St Annes in 2012.
"When the game gives you something, there's a lot of excitement there and that was really one of the more exciting moments," Els said. "I don't think I've ever slam-dunked it into the hole like that. I've had some run of slopes and run into the hole but that just flew right in. It was a great feeling."
Spain’s Jon Rahm, who is playing his first event as a professional, carded four bogeys on Saturday to find himself three shots off the lead on 12-under-par. The 21-year-old is playing on a sponsor exemption and is looking for his first PGA TOUR victory and first start in The Open.
“No matter what happens tomorrow I know that I belong here, I feel like I belong here. I've been working to be here my entire life. Even if it doesn't happen tomorrow, I know that I can do it so far, so a lot of positive out of it,” said Rahm.
Americans Webb Simpson and Bill Haas, who have both secured a place at Royal Troon, are tied for fourth place on 10-under-par, followed by Varner and Singh who share sixth place on eight-under-par. Varner is looking for his first PGA TOUR victory and a second chance at winning the Claret Jug. Veteran Singh has 88 Major appearances including 24 starts at The Open and is looking to return to Royal Troon, the venue for his first-ever appearance in golf’s most international major in 1989.
Round 2 recap
Hurley III moves into a share of the lead at the Quicken Loans National
Billy Hurley III carded a six-under-par 65 on Friday to move into a share of the lead alongside Spain’s Jon Rahm at the halfway mark of the Quicken Loans National at Congressional Country Club.
The pair, who are tied on 11-under-par, are in position to qualify for The 145th Open at Royal Troon along with Vijay Singh and Harold Varner III.
Four players who finish in the top 12 and ties, who are not already exempt, will secure a place in golf’s most international major championship from 14-17 July.
Hurley, 34, carded seven birdies and a single bogey Friday to climb to the top of the leaderboard alongside Rahm. The former US Navy officer added the 65 to his opening 66 to sit in contention for a maiden victory on the PGA TOUR and a second start in The Open after making his debut at Royal Liverpool in 2014.
Rahm, 21, who is playing his first event as a professional on a sponsor’s exemption, continued his steady play, delivering a four-under-par 67 on Saturday. The Spaniard, who earned the Mark H McCormack medal last year as the world’s top ranked player in the World Amateur Golf Ranking™, is looking for his first appearance in The Open after finishing as low amateur in the US Open last week.
Three-time major champion Singh, 53, has the potential to become the oldest winner ever on the PGA TOUR if he can maintain his form and hold off the charge from the younger players. The Fijian, who has racked up 34 victories on the PGA TOUR, added a 66 to his opening 68 to sit in third place on 8-under-par, three shots behind the leaders.
Four players are tied for fourth place on seven-under-par, Americans Varner, Webb Simpson and Bill Haas, and South African two-time Champion Golfer of the Year Ernie Els. Varner holds the qualifying place as the other three have already secured their places at Royal Troon. The 25-year-old played in the 2013 US Open but is looking for his first PGA TOUR win and first start in The Open.
Round 1 recap
Rahm leads chase for Open qualifying places at Quicken Loans National
Spain’s Jon Rahm began his professional career in style on Thursday, leading the field at the Quicken Loans National with a bogey-free 64.
The 21-year-old also holds one of the four qualifying places for The 145th Open at Royal Troon on offer at Congressional Country Club this week, the seventh stop in The Open Qualifying Series.
Rahm, who recently became the first two-time winner of the Ben Hogan Award which is presented annually to America’s top collegiate golfer, finished as the low amateur at last week’s US Open. He earned an exemption into the event as the winner of the McCormack Medal as the top ranked amateur golfer in the World Amateur Golf Ranking™ for 2015. The top amateur honour also came with an exemption into The Open if he maintained his amateur status, but as he has now moved to the professional ranks he is looking to qualify for a place at Royal Troon. Seven birdies in his opening round moved the rookie to the top spot on the leaderboard, one shot ahead of the field.
The second qualifying place on offer is held by Venezuelan Jhonattan Vegas, who is looking for his second victory on the PGA TOUR and his first start in The Open. The 31-year-old, who won the 2011 Bob Hope Classic, carded a six-under-par 65 on the rain-softened course with seven birdies and a single dropped shot on the 2nd hole.
Americans Jamie Lovemark and Kyle Reifers are also in position for a place at Royal Troon and are two shots off the lead on five-under-par alongside Camilo Villegas, Harold Varner III, Wesley Bryan, Billy Hurley III, as well as Bill Haas and two-time Champion Golfer of the Year Ernie Els, who are both already exempt for The Open. Lovemark and Reifers hold the qualifying places by virtue of their higher positions in the Official World Golf Ranking. Both players have earned victories on the Web.com Tour and are looking for their first start in The Open.